Yoga Teacher Training

At the end of October I started my yoga teacher training with a local studio here in Bend and weekend number three of seven begins tonight. Each weekend there is both excitement and trepidation. Each weekend we’re forced out of our comfort zone a little more, encouraged to explore ourselves and our lives a little more, but that’s not enough…we have to talk about it. It’s not just internal reflection, but we have to share what we find….and sometimes we don’t like what we find. And I can’t help, but think “Why on earth would I ever share THAT?”

The hardest part about teacher training isn’t the postures or the meditation, but learning to live your yoga. And it’s hard!!! Cultivating awareness and mindfulness to live according to the yamas isn’t easy and it’s definitely not “fun” when you begin to realize just how frequently  you violate the yamas. The yamas are kind of like a code of ethics to encourage bliss and happiness and to end suffering; there are five yamas, as follows: ahimsa (nonviolence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non-stealing), braymacharya (moderation), and aparigraha (non-attachment).

Yoga is and always will be a work in progress, hopefully someday soon it will get easier.

I have no idea where this quote came from, but it’s something like this:

“I do yoga, I meditate, I chant and I still want to slap somebody.” And that’s how I feel on most days, okay maybe not most days, but probably more often than I should.

Here’s to another weekend of yoga teacher training! Namaste!



Arborek Island in Raja Ampat

Toward the end of our trip we stopped at Arborek Island to use the phone so we could arrange a stay and scuba diving with Raja Ampat Biodiversity on Gam Island (they have a tower that you can climb to get signal). Our afternoon at Arborek was spent walking around the village and snorkeling around the dock with it’s beautiful coral formations and a GIANT school of fish!!!

We will always remember Arborek. When we pulled up to the dock and peered over the edge of the boat we realized that what looked like seagrass was really a giant school of fish that was atleast 20 feet deep. I’d never seen anything like it. Obviously we jumped in to freedive with the fish. GoPro for the win!!!

Giant school of fish in Raja Ampat from thescubageek on Vimeo.

Our home for the night... we pitched the tents under the awnings and tied tarps to the side to protect us from the crazy wind and rain

Our home for the night… we pitched the tents under the awnings and tied tarps to the side to protect us from the crazy wind and rain

Arborek Raja Ampat

Beautiful little beach on Arborek…

And then a storm moved in….and we were stuck on the boat, rain was coming in from the ceiling, from the doors, the wind was insane and the boat would not stop rocking. By the time the storm “settled” down it was after dark, the staff shuttled us over to the dock pair by pair where we practically had to leap from the boat onto the dock and hoist ourselves up….it was complete madness. And then the staff shuttled our tents, sleeping mats and dinner over to the dock…and we had to time the pass-off of the goods with the waves. It was a rough evening, with a cold dinner. Atleast we didn’t have to sleep on the boat that night and the staff tied tarps to the awning on the dock to block some of the wind. We only had to deal with the dock rocking and the waves crashing down below. Needless to say, we called it an early night and went to bed right after dinner.

Raja Ampat Arborek local boats

Even the locals were bringing their boats in.

Raja Ampat Arborek Storm

At this point the storm was moving in fast, so our island exploration was cut a bit short

The incredible storm made Arborek quite memorable, but the island itself was pretty charming in its own right and I was able to snap a couple of pretty shots and a handful of pics of the kids.

Arborek homestay driftwood and coral

Driftwood and coral at one of the homestays

Raja Ampat Arborek Flowers

I love taking pics of flowers

Raja Ampat Arborek

The kids were playing what looked like a game of “capture the ‘coconut'” combined with dodgeball

Raja Ampat kids

Curious kids took a short break from their game to check us out

This little guy was pulling a ball attached to a string and a stick... easily entertained

This little guy was pulling a ball attached to a string and a stick… easily entertained

Curious onlookers...

Curious onlookers…

They start them young...these kids are fishing off the dock with just fishing line and a pole needed

They start them young…these kids are fishing off the dock with just fishing line and a hook….no pole needed

So curious about everything we did...

So curious about everything we did…

Someday we’ll get back to Arborek….hopefully it won’t be so stormy next time.

Raja Ampat

What’s a person to do with no money in Raja Ampat? Book a trip with Deni at Raja Ampat Adventures….well you still need money…atleast 7 million rupiah (plus your park fees). I’m pretty sure Deni’s trip is the most affordable trip to get out to the islands. Just bring your sense of adventure with you. Sleeping on a fishing boat and camping might sound romantic, but it can make for a long week of less than stellar sleep. But who cares when you’re in Raja Ampat.

It only gets more beautiful!!!

It only gets more beautiful!!!

We spent a week island hopping with Deni, snorkeling with sharks at Wayag, climbing up limestone formations, snorkeling in secret lagoons and sleeping on deserted islands. Steve and I are used to “roughing it” so using the loo off the back of the boat, sleeping on the ground, and crabs cruising around our sleeping mats just added to the fun.

Raja Ampat Hidden Bay

Twilight at Hidden Bay… the bats were in full swing and the stars were just beginning to come out…

Raja Ampat might be the most pristine place we’ve ever been to. I’m even tempted to call it magical; jungle capped islands sit on top of pristine coral reef teeming with fish and locals that still live a mostly traditional way of life.

Raja Ampat Bat Island

An easy morning on Bat Island

Raja Ampat Wayag

The view from the top of one of the limestone formations…EPIC… look how small our boats are down there.

Raja Ampat Wayag

And looking the opposite direction…

Raja Ampat sharks at Wayag

Our snorkel mates for the afternoon… and I’m not being facetious…check out the video!

Click here for snorkeling pics…

And here are some pics of snorkeling through a cave and in the mangroves.

Want to see more Raja Ampat pics? Check back for my for my Raja Ampat Photo Blog.



Mangrove & Cave Snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Deni took us into the mangroves so we could snorkel with the tide…it was amazing, so much fun zipping along with jungle clad rock formations above the water and a beautiful, healthy mangrove and coral ecosystem underneath. Here are some of the pics we took with our GoPro.

Mangrove snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Snorkeling with the current..

Mangrove snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Here’s proof.

Mangroves and coral in Raja Ampat

Mangroves and coral!!!

Deni also took us to a little grotto that you actually have to swim through a crack in the rocks to get to…it was so cool.

cave entrance

Here we are at the cave entrance…

Raja Ampat cave snorkeling

Here goes Steve

Now that Steve and Deni had gone through already I knew it was my turn and the longer I stayed outside of the entrance the more nervous I was getting. How deep do I have to dive down? How long do I have to hold my breath? The answer is not long and not deep. Thankfully, I stopped trying to analyze the dangers and just went for it.

Autumn swimming through the cave entrance

I followed quickly behind…

Deni cave snorkeling

Here is a pic of Deni inside the cave/grotto




Underwater in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat snorkeling with sharks  at Wayag

Hey mate….

Raja Ampat Soft Corals


Sharks at Wayag

Another one….

Raja Ampat Wayag Coral

Beautiful coral right next to the pier

coral reef


Free-diving Raja Ampat

Deni freediving next to these beautiful soft corals.

Shallow water snorkeling

Shallow water snorkeling

staghorn raja ampat

Staghorn coral just below the surface

raja ampat coral reef

Raja’s healthy coral reef

We took some video of snorkeling with the sharks on our GoPro….and it turned out pretty great.


Spicy Thai Yellow Curry

After two weeks of craving curry, we finally took a Sunday evening to make our own curry paste….why did we wait so long?

thai yellow curry

Love this stuff!!!!

Ingredients for Thai Yellow Curry Paste

Serves 3.

4-5 dried chilies (soaked in water for 10-15 minutes)
2-3 fresh Thai chilies
1 1/2 teaspoons galangal, peeled and minced
1 1/2 teaspoons of tumeric, minced
1/2 stalk of lemongrass, minced (or about 1 T.)
1 1/2 teaspoons of ginger, peeled and minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds
1/3 teaspoon of ground coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder

Ingredients for Thai Yellow Curry

1 large chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 13.5 oz. can of coconut milk
1- 1 1/2 cups of water
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cups, chopped sweet potato, pumpkin, or other potato
2-3 green onions, chopped
1- 1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar
cilantro or thai basil for garnish
fresh lime, sliced for garnish
salt to taste


1. Put all of you curry paste ingredients in a mortar and pestle and pound them until they’re as smooth as possible…this will probably take longer than it will take to cook the curry, but atleast you’re getting a good arm workout.

2. In a medium pot combine the chicken, onion, yellow curry paste and half a can of coconut milk and bring to a low boil.

3. Once the chicken is almost done cooking (this will only be a couple of minutes) add in the sweet potatoes and a cup of water.

4. Reduce heat to a simmer and allow the curry to reduce a bit. The sweet potatoes will take about 12-15 minutes to cook. At this point you can add in the rest of your coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, and salt. If you need to thin the sauce now is a good time to add the remaining water.

5. Serve with rice and garnish with green onion, cilantro (or thai basil) and fresh lime.



Sorong: Gateway to the Raja Ampat Islands

This past June Steve and I were in the final months of our Southeast Asia and were looking forward to spending a week plus in West Papua and Raja Ampat. This part of Indonesia is EXPENSIVE… you feel the money flying out of your pockets as you walk down the street. Our home-base was Sorong, a gritty little town which most tourists never see because they are quickly shuttled out to the islands.

Raja Ampat Pano

Raja Ampat might be the end goal, but why not enjoy the journey…

When we landed at Domine Edward Osok Airport I headed through customs a few people ahead of Steve, big mistake. The customs and immigration guys grilled me like I was a mule transporting drugs. They wanted to know everywhere I had been within the last 6 months and none of my answers were good enough. I was starting to get really upset and irritated with these guys, they were RELENTLESS. I was about to jump across the counter and punch them in the face; luckily, Steve walked up, said he was my husband and everything from there on out was “business as usual.” Why must women always be grilled when alone in this country!!! I learned my lesson, it’s better to go through immigration and customs with Steve than without him. My advice: just smile and keep your answers SIMPLE.

Our plan however was to arrive in Sorong a day or two before our trip with Deni and Raja Ampat Adventures to explore the area. Well, there aren’t any tourist facilities in Sorong…. no tour agencies, no moto rentals, and not much for restaurants. We stayed one night at the moldy, mildewy Hotel Tanjung for $20-25 a night. We promptly decided that one night was enough and moved over to the Hotel Waigo, which at the time was going through a renovation. We stayed in one of the cheaper economy/standard rooms in the older, unremodeled section for about $48 a night. Bonus: Hotel Waigo has free WiFi, breakfast is included and the downstairs lobby gets great light. Just be warned: if you aren’t staying at one of the nice tourist hotels like the JE Meridien (right across from the airport and also the location of the Raja Ampat Tourist Office) the staff at the hotel will speak little to no English, so learn some Bahasa!!!!

There are ATMs at the airport, the JE Meridien (which lets you take out 2.5 million rupiah), and at the supermarkets.

Night seafood warung set up along the waterfront across from the soccer field in the evening and they serve up just about anything from the sea, so there are plenty of options. There are loads of vendors that sell fried snacks and bottled drinks in the same area (Pantai Lido).

The local market is also a good place to grab some cheap fruits…try some betel nut…buy a neon baby chick or to stock up on miscellaneous things that keep disappearing during your travels…ie. sunglasses and flip flops/rubber shoes. And you’ll be treated like a celebrity…complete with paparazzi and people wanting to touch you. I found it charming, but I’d suggest skipping it if you’re weirded out by intimate contact with strangers or simply don’t feel like having your pic taken.

Sorong Salak Vendors

The friendliest Salak vendors in Sorong

Sorong Betel Nut Vendors

Betel nut anyone????


Sorong baby chicks

I don’t think PETA would approve…

Also, if you’re flying Merpati expect your flight to be canceled or delayed. They are notorious for changing and canceling flights. It’s incredibly frustrating, but we eventually learned to deal with it. After our trip with Deni we ended up having a couple extra days in Sorong, thanks to the lovely folks at Merpati, so we called up our new friend Alex, who happened to have the day off and was able to show us the local side of Sorong. I will write up a post about our day with Alex as soon as I can.

Sorong Celebrities

Kiddos on an island just a short boat ride from the Sorong Harbor

Sorong Alex Steve Autumn

Alex, Steve and I went to the beach just outside of town.